Earnie: Don’t write us off yet

CHRIS WISE Robert Earnshaw is expecting Norwich City to revel in their role as promotion underdogs - starting with today's home clash against a struggling Derby side.


Robert Earnshaw is expecting Norwich City to revel in their role as promotion underdogs - starting with today's home clash against a struggling Derby side.

With sixth-placed Preston in FA Cup action, the Canaries will move to within nine points of the play-off zone if they can beat the lowly Rams.

Booking a return ticket to the Premiership would be a tall order even then, with the sides they are chasing having games as well as points in hand.

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But with an away game coming up against Crystal Palace next week, and a trip to Preston to follow in April, there would certainly be something to play for - and Earnshaw had his sights set firmly on a back-door route to the top flight as he looked ahead to City's second home game inside five days.

"I know if we win a lot of games we will have a chance, that's all I can say," said the 24-year-old, who will go into today's match on a high after opening his account for his new club against Brighton on Tuesday.

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"It will obviously depend on how other sides do, but you certainly can't rule it out. I came here to try and get into the Premier League. That is where I want this club to be. If we could get in the top six and do it this year then that would be brilliant.

"There is no reason why we can't go out and try and make the play-offs. There is absolutely no pressure on us now. No-one is expecting anything of us - and that is the best time to play your football. We'll just try to build on the result on Tuesday and keep winning and winning."

Earnshaw is well aware that he can help the Canaries along the way by scoring a hatful of goals - and will be doing his utmost to carry on where he left off in midweek.

After drawing a blank in his first two games Earnshaw got off the mark against Brighton as he made the most of excellent work from first Darren Huckerby and then Paul McVeigh to notch a dramatic late double to earn City a somewhat flattering 3-0 victory.

As far as the £2.75m new boy is concerned good service and good finishing is an ideal recipe for success - and he now wants more of the same .

"If you haven't got the ball you can't score goals. If you don't get chances you can't score goals," he said. "I've just got to thank Darren and Paul. They both did well to pick me out and I appreciate things like that. It's great to have players like that in the side who can create chances for the strikers.

"It takes time to settle in. I am still getting to know the boys, and they are still getting to know me. You have got to learn what people are good at, and what is good for them. It doesn't happen overnight but we are moving in the right direction, that's for sure.

"It was nice to get off the mark. It's always important to get your first goals for your new club and it was a very good feeling, I can tell you."

He added: "There is still a lot to come from me. I have been around for years and years, but I am still only 24. Over the next five or six years I am hoping to achieve a lot.

"I would obviously have preferred to open my account earlier, but to be honest there weren't really too many opportunities in my first two games. I was happy that the boys created some chances for me against Brighton - and that I managed to put them away.

"At times we did very well the other night, we linked up together well, but the end product wasn't always there. But given time the goals will come, I'm sure of that. The more times we play together the easier it will be.

"There are some good players here - and it's certainly good to be playing alongside Peter Thorne again. We always played well together at Cardiff, and scored a lot of goals, so hopefully we can get the partnership going again."

Earnshaw is well aware that any late charge for promotion is likely to be played out against the backdrop of fans' unrest. Just minutes after his late double on Tuesday over 100 fans brandishing 'Worthington out' banners were gathering outside Carrow Road to call for a change of management - and while the new signing was keeping a diplomatic silence on off-the-field matters he feels the players can help their boss by with a run of results.

"The atmosphere was maybe a little bit subdued on Tuesday," he said. "But I have only just arrived here and I don't want to go into things like that. I don't want to talk about negatives. I was just happy with the win - that's all that concerned me. If we keep winning then the fans will be behind us, I'm sure of that."

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